Tag Archives: silver

Virginia City Nevada

Virginia City Nevada

Virginia City, NV

Virginia City Nevada Mines, Mining Camp, Ghost Town
Storey County, Nevada

South of Reno, NV
NE of Carson City @ US 395

Virginia City Historic District
established 1859 The Comstock Lode

elevation: 6200′
population: 1000

Historic mining district with restored downtown; several mining camps, which are now residential communities. The 1859 mining boom of the Comstock Lode turned Virginia City into the most important industrial city between Denver and San Francisco. At its peak, this location had approximately 25,000 residents.

snow snow is common in winter

Ghost towns, mining camps and remote, almost abandon locations – always intrigue. Old historic towns that have too much commercialized backing are a big turn off. Any popular tourist mecca, I typically avoid.

Over the decades traveling the West coast, I had heard numerous stories about the legendary Virginia City, in the high desert mining hills of Nevada. The real, authentic, boomtown of silver & gold mining; East of  Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. One day, maybe. Sounds larger than life. Bet it is crowded. Twenty years go by.

road side 342

Then low and behold, I found myself in the Eastern Sierra – trying to kill time, avoiding the fire smoke in California. Wildfire season was raging and as the weeks progressed, I could no longer find a smoke-free spot to camp. I finally ended up at a small, cute lodge in a desert mining district – Virginia City.

lawn mower

Wild horses graze in the backyard, the main street scene was only a few blocks away, and I had a refrigerator and an air conditioner in my room. I was set! After a long shower and a change of clothes, I hit the trail. Or shall I say sidewalk.

Walking to town I immediately noticed that the entire townsite is built on a steep, dirt, mountain side. Terraced, high desert hills with minimal trees, and miles of mining tunnels located underneath the paved streets.

Numerous shops and restaurants line the main drag, which sit precipitously on a slope of Mount Davidson. Tourists stroll the sidewalks, eat frozen treats and kettle corn. Loud motorcycle engines reverb off the historic buildings and music can be heard on each passing block.

wooden sidewalks

Nevada Highway 341 is the main street, also known as “C” Street, and it runs the length of town and has most of the sidewalk businesses. Parallel side streets – either up hill (labeled A Street, B St) – or down hill (D St, E, F, G, H) span the arid mountain terrain. Residential homes (some historic) surround this historic village.

Nevada Highway 342 is the main (but steep) paved route thru the communities to the south of town. Occidental Grade is Hwy 341, which bypasses the mining camps (to the east side) and is the longer, official ‘truck route’ and preferred RV entrance to VC.

steep streets

Walk the whole town, twice, and get a work out hiking the steep hills.

Motorcycle rides, classic car shows, old west, cowboy tourists type of destination. Wooden sidewalks, historic buildings, great desert views. The town is home to Victorian buildings built during the 19th-century mining boom. Annual events and parades celebrate the history of this unique locale.

party town: this desert destination is well known for its drinking, local events and celebratory nature, as well as the historic interest

Several hotels and one RV campground cater to overnight travelers. But beware, there is no real grocery store or public laundromat in town. No big chain hotels, coffee shops, nor chain restaurants.

gasoline

Only one gas station – on the north end of town.

Amazing museums, plenty of saloons, antique stores, numerous curiosity shops, many restaurants, plus an authentic 1800’s cemetery. Historic, classic and not too busy for mid week, but weekends are typically crowded.

After the sun sets, the families go home and a different gang comes in for dinner and drinks. Live music – perhaps. Drinking establishments are usually open late here, so know that this small town can get rowdy at night. Sheriff Station is in the center of town!

check

MANY MUSEUMS IN TOWN –

firehouse museum

Virginia City was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1965. National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the Distinctive Destinations Award to the Storey County in 2009.

cemetery view
Silver Terrace Cemetery, Virginia City, NV

Desert scrub, sage brush and juniper pines make up the vegetation. Trees are few and far between. Apple trees, cottonwoods and juniper evergreens dress up the edges of town.

businesses include:

antiques
art center
costume photography
curiosity shops
gift shops
ice cream shop
lodging
opera house
outdoor cafesfood
restaurants
RV park
saloons
train tours

recreation:

high desert terrain
historic parks
horseback rides
horseback trails
mine tours
museums
off roading
OHV trails
picnic grounds
RV camping
saloons & gamblingtrain rides
shopping
train rides

Virginia City Train Tours:
Virginia & Truckee Railroad Co

camp

RVCamping Virginia City

Campground in Town is limited to only one RV Park, with limited, poor tent camping options, but they have a near 5 star rating on Google, so it must be decent for the motorhomes.

additional camping nearby –

Dayton State Park has day use areas, picnic tables and offers camping, down the hill @ US Hwy 50

Washoe Lake State Park Campground
N of Carson City, Nevada. Only 5 mi west of VC, but a 30 mi drive by paved road, via US Highway 50 & I-580

Ft Churchill State Historic Park, located 30 mi east (near Yerrington, NV) Fort Churchill Camping

picnic

neighboring communities:

  • Gold Hill
  • Devils Gate
  • Silver City
  • VC Highlands

nearby towns, down the hill:

  • Carson City, NV
  • Dayton, NV
  • Reno, NV

exterior

Virginia City Tourism Commission
86 South C Street
Virginia City, NV 89440
775-847-7500

Comstock Historic District Commission
20 North E Street
Virginia City, NV 89440
775-847-0281

star

Virginia City is NOT to be confused with –

Virginia Creek Settlement
Virginia Lakes California 
both locations along US 395 south of Bridgeport, CA

Virginiatown (1851) Placer County
West of Auburn, CA in West Sierra Nevada, Gold Country

Panamint City California

panahills
Photo Credit © Lttlbddy Steve Gardiner

Panamint City, a super remote mining camp on the edge of Death Valley National Park

elevation: 7300′

(Not to be confused w/ Panamint Springs, CA which is NW, along the main Highway 190 on the west side of DVNPhiker

Panamint Valley, Death Valley NP
Inyo County, NE of Ridgecrest
East of Hwy 395, south of Hwy 190

Hard to reach ghost town / abandoned mining camp on the mountainous edge of Death Valley National Park. Access via dirt road and steep trail,  off the paved Trona Wildrose Road. Panamint Valley, west of Death Valley

best time to visit: November – April
Triple digit heat is common in the warmer months, so spring, autumn and winter time is best for this region, but beware of winter storms.snow

Snow is common on  the peaks, and at higher elevations (like this place) during winter (DEC-APRIL). If you see trees on the terrain – joshua trees or pinyon pines, that indicates that snow falls here often enough. Snow is possible around Death Valley, down to 3000′ elev. during coldest of winter storms.

Surprise Canyon Wilderness BLM – Desert mountains, steep rocky terrain w/ peaks and very few trees. Surprise Canyon can become a waterfall, during heavy desert rains. The canyon is the  only access up to reach this hidden town4x4

NO MORE 4×4
Hike or backpack up Surprise Canyon
No longer 4WD accessible .Gotta hike it on foot now. So get that fat ass outta the rig for some elevated heart rate (real exercise).

This desert destination used to be a very popular off-road trail, where Jeeps would wench and crawl up the narrow, rocky passage; but all that changed with a wilderness designation (1994)  and no longer are machines allowed in this specific canyon area. No vehicles (engines) and no mountain bikes. No wheeled anything.

Off-roading and free-wheelin is still allowed and abundant in neighboring canyons of Nadeau Road & Panamint Valley – Pleasant Canyon, South Park Canyon, Jailhouse Canyon, Goler Wash, Isham Canyon

stack
Smoke stack has collapsed in the recent past, so this structure is no longer standing. Photo Credit © Lttlbddy Steve Gardiner

DVNP Topo Map

area activities & links:

  • lookinN
    Looking north in a neighboring canyon

    Campgrounds nearby –

    Ballarat ghost town has a camper bathroom w/ showers and a fee to go along with that. Panamint Springs has a small motel and a big restaurant, plus a large campground (across the highway) which can accommodate tents, camper trailers and RVs.

    campDeath Valley National Park boundary means developed campgrounds are a few miles away up Wildrose Canyon.

     

  • Primitive Camping around Panamint Valley

    Boon-docking, dispersed, FREE, open camping is allowed almost anywhere in Panamint Valley and the neighboring desert canyons. Campfire permits are required and are available at BLM office in Ridgecrest. There is no firewood, nor wood collecting around these parts, so bring your own.

    camptruck

    Nadeau Road has abundant flat spots for RVs; Well stocked 4x4s can find secluded camping further up the canyons, but must be a self-sufficient camper and bring water, plenty of ice, extra gasoline, food and firewood.

    More Mining Camps & towns nearby:check

    Ballarat, CA
    Pleasant Canyon
    Randsburg, CA
    Skidoo, DVNP
    Tucki Mine, DVNP

    wildrosedrive
    Wildrose Canyon Road, DVNP

    lodging nearby – lodge

    Locating a ‘real bed’ near this remote desert region will require some driving. The closest option in Panamaint Springs, which only has a few rooms. The next closest, would be Stovepipe Wells inside the National Park.

    mike_up5
    This is the kinda wheeling craziness that goes on in other canyons nearby.
    bestnite
    Leon from San Diego enjoys a spontaneous vacation.

    Camping in Panamint Valley is best in cooler months.  NOTE: Triple digit heat in summer!